A Love Affair
May 20 2021
It’s true, I’ve been having a love affair for years and years, if push came to shove, I’m not sure who would win, my husband or plants. Ok, ok, I know really, but well…..maybe I’ll send him some anemones. As a joke of course, I haven’t really forsaken him. Have I? Like a sports widow in reverse? It might be a problem if it weren’t for the fact that he’s a workaholic farmer and he’s happy that I’ve found a passion equal to his own. I tell him his gardens are just a lot bigger than mine.
Anemones seem to symbolize everything from bad luck to good luck and protection from evil, but the meaning I was referring to comes from the Greek myth of Aphrodite (Greek goddess of love, beauty and fertility) who fell in love with Adonis. When the other gods killed Adonis, Aphrodite’s tears fell to the ground and became anemones, thus forsaken love. Another version is that Adonis’ blood became red anemones.
The name anemone comes from a Greek word meaning the wind’s daughter and a common name is windflower. My spring blooming white anemone blooms about the same time as tulips. There are fall blooming ones also. My (sort of) white garden starts off with anemones, pheasant’s eye narcissus, white Latium, and a spring snow crabapple.
Anemones are mildly toxic and supposed to be deer resistant, they can cause skin irritation. I just read an important thing to remember, poisonous does not necessarily mean deadly. They do spread, some say too much, but it’s fine by me; I would like them to fill in around the dying tulip and daffodil foliage (those hypothetical white tulips that live in my mind).
There are many species of anemone, around 120, they are members of the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family which includes delphinium, clematis and ranunculus! They can bloom from spring until fall depending on the species and like some shade and slightly moist well drained soil. Mine have fibrous roots, not corms, which I understand are too tender to overwinter here and have to be dug up in the fall and stored. There are other hardy varieties: a pink ‘Robustissima’, a double pink, a fall blooming white ‘Honorine Jobert’ and no doubt more. We also have native wild anemones-after blooming, look for round or oblong seed heads on top of straight stalks. Anemones come in a rainbow of colors, many hybrids, and they make great cut flowers. I have a vase of them right now while I contemplate why we love what we love. From the ancient myths of Aphrodite to my table, anemones speak of love, a lost love perhaps, but one from which flowers grew to keep the story alive. Don’t worry darling, there’s plenty of love to go around.
Anemone sylvestris, white fibrous rooted
Anemone tomentosa, ‘Robustissima’
A.coronaria , zone 7, corms